The coalition strives to raise awareness of substance abuse, risk and protective factors and ways to prevent future abuse in Vernon’s youth by participating in and hosting community events, and through social norms marketing campaigns created by young people, targeting their peers and their parents.

If you have an event you would like us to partake in or wish for us to come speak please contact us HERE

Real Talk Present A Conversation about Vaping: The Vernon ROCKS Coalition, in partnership with the CT Tobacco Control Program, the North Central District Health Department, the Vernon Police Department, The Vernon Public Schools, and the Town of Vernon, collaborated for a two-part community presentation to inform and raise awareness of substance use issues in the community.  The first half of the presentation was Real Talk members explaining local data that was collected back in June on RHS substance use.  The second half featured a panel discussion on the prevalence of vaping in the school and community and how to prevent it.  It featured panelists who are at the forefront of vaping prevention in the community including Barbara Metcalf Walsh from the CT Tobacco Control Program; the Vernon Police Department School Resource Officer, Josh Wells; Dr. Ellen Marmer, a local cardiologist and the Vernon Public Schools Primary Physician; and Patrice Sulik the Director at the North Central District Health Department.  Moderated by Real Talk members, panelists answered questions pertaining to the issue and provided solutions to the problem.

The Vernon ROCKS Coalition hosts Rockville ROCKS Community Block Party every year to kick off SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week, an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, mental and/or substance use disorders.

The coalition provides a safe, healthy and free experience for the community to come and have fun, play games, socialize, and eat food and treats all while learning about issues regarding substance use and prevention.  The block party has included displays such as  Narcan training, Hidden in Plain Sight demonstrations, police K-9 unit demos, Escape the Vape- a vape themed escape room, trivia, local resource fairs and more.  The block party intends to raise awareness and educate people about substance use prevention while simultaneously strengthening the community.

Opioid Forum & Resource Fair: The Vernon ROCKS Coalition, in partnership with the North Central District Health Department and the Town of Vernon, collaborated to host an opioid forum and resource fair. The goals of this event were to raise community awareness and provide education about the opioid crisis locally and nationally, highlight efforts around substance abuse and prescription pill misuse and prevention of substance abuse, and increase knowledge of the resources available in Vernon and the surrounding area.

The event began with a large resource fair with participation of twenty five local agencies and organizations, including a “Hidden in Plain Sight” demonstration. Additionally, about fifteen community members participated in a NARCAN training facilitated by Perception Programs, Inc. Following the resource fair was a forum, moderated by Dan Corcoran of NBC CT News and featuring a guest speaker a discussion with a panel of experts.

For more details about the event and our panelists, view the event’s program here: Opioid Forum Program

Social Marketing: Vernon ROCKS received funding through DMHAS, as a part of the state targeted response to the opioid epidemic. Vernon ROCKS launched three consecutive local versions of the state-wide “Change the Script” campaign, including billboards, movie preview PSAs and radio ads that aim to connect people who are affected by the crisis through prevention, treatment, and recovery. By providing resources, “Change the Script” helps rewrite the story about how we deal with this issue.

In addition, Vernon ROCKS in collaboration with the youth group Real Talk, consistently produces social norms campaigns created by teens to encourage teens and parents to have conversations about underage drinking and prevent youth substance use.  The campaigns are displayed on billboards, yard signs, mailers sent to local parents, displayed at local businesses such as the bowling alley, and are used as targeted ads on our social media platforms.  

Vernon ROCKS is currently active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These platforms are utilized to update parents, youth, and local organizations of current events and recent trends in the area, as well as provide important resources pertaining to mental health and substance use.

Community Events: Vernon ROCKS has attended a variety of events to educate community members, bring awareness to substance misuse, and teach others how to prevent substance misuse (i.e., safely disposing of prescription medication). Events we have attended include:

Coalition Prevention Support Specialist, Holly, tabling at Rockville High Schools 2021 Freshman Orientation

  • Connecticut State National Prevention Week Health Fest
  • National Night Out
  • Vernon Holistic Health Fest
  • Fresh Check Day
  • Become Part of the Solution 5K
  • SeniorHood Health Fair
  • Local Trunk or Treat 
  • Rockville High School Freshman Orientation
  • Rockville High School Open House












Revised November 2021

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